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- 1900 ' " 

OR, 

THE LAST PRESIDENT 


n \ 


BY\/* 

INGERSOLL LOCKWOOD, 

Of the New York Bar. 


Copyrijjht, 1896, by Ingersoll Lockwood. 


SEP 1 


The Trade Supplied by 
THE AMERICAN NEWS COMPANY, 
New York. 







The Chicago Platform assumes, in fact, the 
form of a revolutionary propaganda. It em- 
bodies a menace of national disintegration 
and destruction. Garret A. Hobart. 


CHAPTER 1 . 


That was a terrible night for the great City of 
New York — the night of Tuesday, Noverjber 3rd, 
1896. The city staggered under the blow like a huge 
ocean liner which plunges, full speed, with terrific 
crash into a mighty iceberg, and recoils shattered 
and trembling like an aspen. 

The people were gathered, light-hearted and con- 
fident, at the evening meal, when the news burst 
upon them. It was like a thunder bolt out of an 
azure sky : “ Altgeld holds Illinois hard and fast in 

the Democratic line. This elects Bryan President of 
the United States !” 

Strange to say, the people in the upper portion of 
the city made no movement to rush out of their 
houses and collect in the public squares, although the 
night was clear and beautiful. They sat as if paral- 
yzed with a nameless dread, and when they con- 
versed it was with bated breath and throbbing 
hearts. 

In less than half an hour, mounted policemen 
dashed through the streets calling out : “ Keep 

within your houses ; close your doors and barricade 
them. The entire East side is in a state of uproar. 
Mobs of vast size are organizing under the lead of 
Anarchists and Socialists, and threaten to plunder 
and despoil the houses of the rich who have wronged 
and oppressed them for so many years. Keep within 
doors. Extinguish all lights.” 

3 


4 


Happily, Governor Morton was in town, and al- 
though a deeper palor overcame the ashen hue of 
age as he spoke, yet there was no tremor in his voice : 
“ Let the Seventh, Twenty-second and Seventy-first 
regiments be ordered under arms.” In a few mo- 
ments hundreds of messengers could be heard racing 
through the silent streets, summoning the members 
of these regiments to their Armories. 

Slowly, but with astonishing nerve and steadiness, 
the mobs pushed the police northward, and although 
the force stood the onslaught with magnificent cour- 
age, yet beaten back, the dark masses of infuriated 
beings surged up again with renewed fury and 
strength. Will the troops be in time to save the 
city ? was the whispered inquiry among the knots of 
police officials who were directing the movements of 
their men. 

About nine o’clock, with deafening outcries, the 
mob, like a four-headed monster breathing fire and 
flame, raced, tore, burst, raged into Union Square. 

The police force was exhausted, but their front was 
still like a wall of stone, save that it was movable. 
The mob crowded it steadily to the north, while the 
air quivered and was rent with mad vociferations of 
the victors : Bryan is elected ! Bryan is elected [ 

Our day has come at last. Down with our oppress- 
ors ! Death to the rich man ! Death to the gold 
bugs ! Death to the capitalists ! Give us back the 
money you have ground out of us. Give us back the 
marrow of our bones which you have used to grease 
the wheels of your chariots.” 

The police force was now almost helpless. The 
men still used their sticks, but the blows were inef- 
fectual, and only served to increase the rage of the 
vast hordes now advancing upon Madison Square. 


5 


The Fifth Avenue Hotel will be the first to feel 
the fury of the mob. Would the troops be in time to 
save it? 

A half cheer, a half cry of joy goes up. It is inar- 
ticulate. Men draw a long breath ; women drop 
upon their knees and strain their eyes ; they can hear 
something, but they cannot see as yet, for the gas 
houses and electric plants had been destroyed by the 
mob early in the evening. They preferred to fight 
in the dark, or by the flames of rich men’s abodes. 

Again [a cheer goes up, louder and clearer this 
time, followed by cries of “ They’re coming, they’re 
coming.” 

Yes, they were coming — the Twenty-second down 
Broadway, the Seventh down Madison avenue, both 
on the double quick. 

In a moment or so there were a few bugle calls, 
and a few spoken commands rang out clear and 
sharp ; and then the two regiments stretched across 
the entire square, literally from wall to wall, in line 
of battle. The mob was upon them. Would this 
slender line of troops, could it hold such a mighty 
mass of men in check ? 

The answer was a deafening discharge of firearms, 
a terrific crack, such as some thunder bolts make 
when they explode. A wall of fire blazed across the 
Square. Again and again it blazed forth. The mob 
halted, stood fast, wavered, fell back, advanced again. 
At that moment there came a rattle as of huge 
knives in the distance. It was the gallant Seventy- 
first charging up Twenty-third street, and taking the 
mob on the flank. They came on like a wall of iron, 
bristling with blades of steel. 

There were no outcries, no cheers from the regi- 
ment. It dealt out death in silence, save when two 


6 


bayonets crossed and clashed in bearing down 
some doubly-vigorotis foe. 

As the bells rang out midnight, the last remnants 
of the mob were driven to cover, but the wheels of 
the dead wagons rattled till daybreak. 

And then the aged Governor, in response to the 
Mayor’s “Thank God, we’ve saved the city!” made 
answer : 

“Aye, but the Republic 


n 


CHAPTER 11. 


Great as has been the world’s wonder at the up- 
rising of Mr. Bryan’s struggling masses ” in the city 
by the sea, and the narrow escape of its magnificent 
homes from fire and brand, yet greater still was the 
wonderment when the news was flashed across the 
land that Chicago did not stand in need of a single 
Federal soldier. 

“Chicago is mad, but it is the madness of joy. 
Chicago is in the hands of a mob, but it is a mob 
made up of her own people — noisy, rude and 
boisterous, the natural exultation of a suddenly en- 
franchised class ; but bent on no other mischief than 
glorying over the villainous and self-seeking souls 
who have ground the faces of the poor and turned 
the pitiless screw of social and political power into 
the hearts of the ‘ common people ' until its last 
thread had been reached, and despair pressed its 
lupine visage hard against the door of the laboring 
man.” 

And yet, at this moment when the night air quiv- 
ered with the mad vociferations of the “common 
people,” that the Lord had been good to them ; that 
the wicked money-changers had been driven from 
the temple, that the stony-hearted usurers were 
beaten at last, that the “ People’s William ” was at 
the helm now, that peace and plenty would in a few 
moons come back to the poor man’s cottage, that 
Silver was King, aye. King at last, the world still went 
7 


wondering why red-eyed anarchy, as she stood in 
Haymarket Square, with thin arms aloft, with wild 
mien and wilder gesticulation, drew no bomb of 
dynamite from her bosom, to hurl at the hated 
minions of the law who were silent spectators of this 
delirium of popular joy. 

Why was it thus ? Look and you shall know why 
white robed peace kept step with this turbulent band 
and turned its thought from red handed pillage. He 
was there. The master spirit to hold them in leash. 
He, and he alone, had lifted Bryan to his great emi- 
nence. Without these twenty-four electoral votes, 
Bryan had been doomed, hopelessly doomed. He, 
and he alone, held the great Commonwealth of the 
West hard and fast in the Democratic line ; hence he 
came as conqueror, as King-maker, and the very walls 
of the sky-touching edifices trembled as he was 
dragged through the crowded streets by this orderly 
mob, and ten times ten thousand of his creatures 
bellowed his name and shook their hats aloft in mad 
exultation : 

^Wou’re our Saviour, you’ve cleaned the Temple 
of Liberty of its foul horde of usurers. We salute 
you. We call you King-maker. Bryan shall call 
you Master too. You shall have your reward. You 
shall stand behind the throne. Your wisdom shall 
make us whole. You shall purge the land of this un- 
lawful crowd of money lenders. You shall save the 
Republic. You are greater than Washington. You’re 
a better friend of ours than Lincoln. You’ll do more 
fqr us than Grant. We’re your slaves. We salute 
you. We thank you. We bless you. Hurrah ! 
Hurrah ! Hurrah !” 

But yet this vast throng of tamed monsters, this 
mighty mob of momentarily good-natured haters of 


9 


established order, broke away from the master’s con- 
trol for a few brief moments, and dipped their hands 
in the enemy’s blood. The deed was swift as it was 
terrible. There were but four of them, unarmed, on 
pleasure bent. At sight of these men, a thousand 
throats belched out a deep and awful growl of hatred. 
They were brave men, and backed against the wall 
to die like brave men, stricken down, beaten, torn, 
trampled, dragged, it was quick work. They had 
faced howling savages in the far West, painted mon- 
sters in human form, but never had they heard such 
yells leave the throats of men ; and so they died, four 
brave men, clad in the blue livery of the Republic, 
whose only crime was that some months back, against 
the solemn protest of the Master, their comrades had 
set foot on the soil of the commonwealth, and saved 
the Metropolis of the West from the hands of this 
same mob. 

And so Chicago celebrated the election of the new 
President who was to free the land from the grasp of 
the money-lenders, and undo the bad business of 
years of unholy union between barterers and sellers 
of human toil and the law makers of the land. 

Throughout the length and breadth of the South, 
and beyond the Great Divide, the news struck hamlet 
and village like the glad tidings of a new evangel, 
almost as potent for human happiness as the heavenly 
message of two thousand years ago. Bells rang out 
in joyful acclaim, and the very stars trembled at the 
telling, and the telling over and over of what had 
been done for the poor man by his brethren of the 
North, and around the blazing pine knots of the 
Southern cabin and in front of the mining camp fires 
of the Far West, the cry went up : Silver is King ! 
Silver is King !” Black palms and white were 


lO 


clasped in this strange love-feast, and the dark 
skinned grand child no longer felt the sting of the 
lash on his sire's shoulder. All was peace and good 
will, for the people were at last victorious over their 
enemies who had taxed and tithed them into a very 
living death. Now the laborer w’ould not only be 
worthy of his hire, but it would be paid to him in a 
people’s dollar, for the people’s good, and now the 
rich man’s coffers would be made to yield up their 
ill-gotten gain, and the sun would look upon this 
broad and fair land, and find no man without a mar- 
ket for the product of his labors. Henceforth, the 
rich man should, as was right and proper, pay a royal 
sum for the privilege of his happiness, and take the 
nation’s taxes on his broad shoulders, where they 
belong. 


I f 


CHAPTER III. 


The pens of many writers would not suffice to 
describe with anything like historical fullness and 
precision, the wild scenes of excitement which, on 
the morning after election day, burst forth on the 
floors of the various exchanges throughout the Union. 
The larger and more important the money centre, 
the deeper, blacker and heavier the despair which 
sank upon them after the violent ebullitions of pro« 
test, defiance and execration had subsided. With 
some, it seemed that visions of their swift but sure 
impoverishment only served to transform the dark 
and dismal drama of revolution and disintegration 
into a side-splitting farce, and they greeted the pro- 
spective loss of their millions with loud guffaws and 
indescribable antics of horseplay and unseemly mirth. 

As the day wore on, the news became worse and 
worse. It was only too apparent that the House of 
Representatives of the Fifty-fifth Congress would be 
controlled by the combined vote of the Populists and 
Free Silver men, while the wild joy with which the 
entire South welcomed the election of Bryan and 
Sewall left little doubt in the minds of the Northern 
people that the Southern Senators would, to a man^ 
range themselves on the Administration side of the 
great conflict into which the Republic was soon to be 
precipitated. Add to these the twenty Senators of 
the Free Silver vStates of the North, and the new 
President would have the Congress of the Republic 


II 


12 


at his back. There would be nothing to stand be- 
tween him and the realization of those schemes which 
an exhuberant fancy, untamed by the hand of ex- 
perience, and scornful of the leadingstrings of 
wisdom, can conjure up. 

Did we say nothing ? Nay, not so ; for the 
Supreme Court was still there. And yet Justice Field 
had come fully up to the eightieth milestone in the 
journey of life and Justice Gray was nearly seventy, 
while one or two other members of this High Court 
of Judicature held to their lives with feeble grasp. 
Even in due and orderly course of events, why might 
there not come vacancies and then ? . . . 

In spite of the nameless dread that rested upon so 
many of our people, and chilled the very blood of the 
country’s industries, the new year ’97 came hopefully, 
erenely, almost defiantly in. There was an indes- 
cribable something in the air, a spirit of political 
devil-me-care, a feeling that the old order had passed 
away and that the Republic had entered into the 
womb of Time and been born again. This senti- 
ment began to give outward and visible signs of its 
existence and growth in the remote agricultural dis- 
tricts of the South and Far West. They threw aside 
their working inplements, loitered about, gathered 
in groups and the words Washington, White House, 
Silver, Bryan, Offices, Two for One, the South’s Day, 
'Reign of the Common People, Taxes, Incomes, Year 
of Jubilee, Free Coinage, Wall Street, Altgeld, Till- 
man, Peffer, Coxey, were whispered in a mysterious 
way with head noddings and pursing up of mouths. 

As January wore away and February, slipping by, 
brought Bryan’s Inauguration nearer and nearer, the 
groups melted into groups, and it was only too ap- 
parent that from a dozen different points in the South 


13 


and North West Coxey Armies were forming* for 
an advance on Washington. In some instances they 
were well clad and well provisioned ; in others, they 
were little better than great bands of hungry and 
restless men, demoralized by idleness and wrought 
up to a strange degree of mental excitement by the 
extravagant harangues of their leaders, who were 
animated with but one thought, namely, to make use 
of these vast crowds of Silver Pilgrims, as they 
called themselves, to back up their claims for public 
office. 

These crowds of deluded people were well named 
“ Silver Pilgrims,’' for hundreds of them carried in 
hempen bags, pieces of silverware, in ninety -nine 
cases of a hundred, plated stuff of little value, which 
unscrupulous dealers and peddlers had palmed off 
upon them as sterling, with the promises that once in 
Washington, the United States Mint would coin their 
metal into Bryan Dollars ” giving “ two for one’^ 
in payment for it. 

While these motley armies ” marched upon the 
capitol of the Republic, the railway trains night and 
day brought vast crowds of ‘‘new men,” politicians 
of low degree, men out of employment, drunken and 
disgruntled mechanics, farmer’s sons, to seek their 
fortunes under the Reign of the People, heelers and 
hangers-on of ward bosses, old men who had not 
tasted office for thirty 3^ears and more, all inspired by 
Mr. Bryan’s declaration that “ The American people 
are not in favor of life tenure in the Civil Service^ 
that a permanent office holding class is not in harmony 
with our institutions, that a fixed term in appointive 
offices would open the public service to a larger 
number of citizens, without impairing its efficiency,” 
all bearing new besoms in their hands or across their 


14 


shoulders, each and every one of them supremely 
confident that in the distribution of the spoils some- 
thing would surely fall to his share, since they were 
the “ Common People” who were so dear to Mr. 
Bryan, and w^ho had made him President in the very 
face of the prodigous opposition of the rich men, 
whose coffers had been thrown wide open all to no 
purpose, and in spite too of the Satanic and truly 
devilish power of that hell upon earth known as Wall 
Street, which had svreated gold in vain in its des- 
perate efforts to fasten the chains of trusts and the 
claws of soulless m.onsters known as corporations 
upon these very “Common People,” soon to march 
in triumph before the silver chariot of the young 
Conqueror from the West. 


u 


CHAPTER IV. 


There had been a strange prophecy put forth by 
some one, and it had made its waydnto the daily jour- 
nals, and had been laughingly or seriously com- 
mented upon, according to the political tone of the 
paper, or the passing humor of the writer, that the 
4th of March, 1897, would never dawn upon the 
American people. There was something very curi- 
ous and uncanny about the prediction, and what ac- 
tually happened was not qualified to loosen the fear- 
ful tension of public anxiety, for the day literally and 
truly never dawned upon the City of Washington, 
and well deserves its historical name, the Dawnless 
Day.” At six o’clock, the hour of daybreak, such an 
impenetrable pall of clouds overhung the city that 
there came no signs of day. The gathering crowds 
could plainly hear the plaintive cries and lamenta- 
tions put up in the negro quarters of the city. Not 
until nearly nine o’clock did the light cease to shine 
in darkness ” and the darkness begin to comprehend 
it. 

But although it was a cheerless gray day, even at 
high noon, its heaviness set no weight upon the spir- 
its of the jubilant tens of thousands which completely 
filled the city and its public parks, and ran over into 
camps and hastily improvised shelters outside the 
city limits. 

Not until the day previous had the President an- 
nounced the names of those selected for his Cabinet. 

15 


i6 

The South and Far West were fairly beside them- 
selves with joy, for there had been from their stand- 
point ugly rumors abroad for several days. It had 
even been hinted that Bryan had surrendered to the 
money changers,” and that the selection of his con- 
stitutional advisers would prove him recreant to the 
glorious cause of popular government, and that the 
Reign of the Common People would remain but a 
dream of the ‘‘struggling masses.” 

But these apprehensions were short lived. The 
young President stood firm and fast on the platform 
of the parties which had raised him to his proud emi- 
nence. And what better proof of his thorough be- 
lief in himself and in his mission could he have given 
than the following : 

Secretary of State — William M. Stewart, of Nevada. 

Secretaty of Treasury — Richard P. Bland, of Mis- 
souri. 

Secretary of War — John P. Altgeld, of Illinois. 

Attorney General — Roger Q. Mills, of Texas. 

Postmaster General — Henry George, of New 
York. 

Secretary Navy — John Gary Evans, of South 
Carolina. 

vSecretary Interior — William A. Peffer, of Kansas. 

Secretary Agriculture — Lafe Pence, of Colorado. 
u The first thing that fiashed across the minds of 
many upon glancing over this list of names was the 
omission therefrom of Tillman’s. What did it mean ? 
Could the young President have quarreled with his 
best friend, his most powerful coadjutor ? But the 
wiser ones only shook their heads and made answer 
that it was Tillman’s hand that filled the blank for 
Secretary of the Navy, left there by the new ruler 
after the people’s own heart. Evans was but a crea- 


17 


tion of this great Commoner of the South, an image 
graven with his hands. 

The inaugural address was not a disappointment 
to those who had come to hear it. It was like the 
man who delivered it — bold, outspoken, unmistakable 
in its terms, promising much, impatient of precedent, 
reckless of result ; a double confirmation that this 
was to be the Reign of the Common People, that 
much should be unmade and much made over, and 
no matter how the rich man might cry out in anger 
or amazement, the nation must march on to the ful- 
fillment of a higher and nobler mission than the im- 
poverislnnent and degradation of the millions for the 
enrichment and elevation of the few. 

Scarcely had the young President — his large eyes 
filled with a strange light, and his smooth, hairless 
visage radiant as a cloudless sky, his wife’s arm 
twined around his, and their hands linked in those of 
their children — passed within the lofty portal of the 
White House, than he threw himself into a chair, 
and seizing a sheet of official paper penned the fol- 
lowing order, and directed its immediate promulga- 
tion : 

Executive Mansion, Washington, D. C., ) 
March 4th, 1897. j" 

Executive Order No. i. 

In order that there may be immediate relief in the 
terrible financial depression now weighing upon our 
beloved country, consequent upon and resulting 
from the unlawful combination of capitalists and 
money-lenders both in this Republic and in Eng- 
land, and that the ruinous and inevitable progress 
toward a universal gold standard may be stayed, the 
President orders and directs the immediate abandon- 
ment of the so-called ‘‘gold reserve/’ and that on 


and after the promulgation of this order, the gold 
and silver standard of the Constitution be resumed 
and strictly maintained in all the business transac- 
tions of the Government. 

It was two o’clock in the afternoon when news of 
this now world-famous Executive Order was flashed 
into the great banking centres of the country. Its 
effect in Wall street beggars description. On the 
floor of the Stock Exchange men yelled and shrieked 
like painted savages, and, in their mad struggles, 
tore and trampled each other. Many dropped in 
fainting fits, or fell exhausted from their wild and 
senseless efforts to say what none would listen to. 
Ashen pallor crept over the faces of some, while the 
blood threatened to burst the swollen arteries that 
spread in purple network over the brows of others. 
When silence came at last, it was a silence broken 
by sobs and groans. Some wept, while others stood 
dumb-stricken as if it was all a bad dream, and they 
were awaiting the return of their poor distraught 
senses to set them right again. Ambulances were 
hastily summoned and fainting and exhausted forms 
were borne through hushed and whispering masses 
wedged into Wall street, to be whirled away uptown 
to their residences, there to come into full possession 
of their senses only to cry out in their anguish that 
^/ruin, black ruin, stared them in the face if this news 
from Washington should prove true. 


CHAPTER V. 


By proclamation bearing date the 5th day of March 
1897, the President summoned both houses of Con- 
gress to convene in extraordinary session for the 
consideration of the general welfare of the United 
States, and to take such action as might seem neces- 
sary and expedient to them on certain measures 
which he should recommend to their consideration, 
measures of vital import to the welfare and happiness 
of the people, if not to the very existence of the 
Union and the continuance of their enjoyment of the 
liberties achieved by the fathers of the Republic.” 

While awaiting the day set for the coming together 
of the Congress, the Great Friend of the Common 
People ” came suddenly face to face with the first 
serious business of his Administration. Fifty thou- 
sand people tramped the streets of V/ashington 
without bread or shelter. Many had come in quest 
of office, lured on by the solemn pronouncement of 
their candidate that there should be at once a clean 
sweep of these barnacles of the ship of State and so 
complete had been their confidence in their glorious 
young captain, that they had literally failed to pro- 
vide themselves with either ‘‘ purse or script or shoes,” 
and now stood hungry and footsore at his gate, beg- 
ging for a crust of bread. But most of those making 
up this vast multitude were the unarmed warriors 
of peaceful armies ” like the one once led by the re- 
doubtable Coxey, decoyed from farm and hamlet and 

19 


20 


plantation by some nameless longing to go forth 
to stand in the presence of this new Savior of Society, 
whose advent to power was to bring them double 
pay** for all their toil. While on the march all had 
gone well, for their brethren had opened their hearts 
and their houses as these “ unarmed warriors ** had 
jnarched with flying banners and loud huzzas through 
the various towns on the route. 

But now the holiday was over, they were far from 
their homes, they were in danger of perishing from 
hunger. What was to be done ? “ They are our 
people, **said the President, their love of country 
has undone them ; the nation must not let them suf- 
fer, for they are its hope and its shield in the hour of 
war, and its glory and its refuge in times of peace. 
They are the common people for whose benefit this 
Republic was established. The Kings of the earth 
may desert them ; I never shall.’* The Secretary of 
War was directed to establish camps in the paries and 
suburbs of the city and to issue rations and blankets 
to these luckless wanderers until the Government 
could provide for their transportation back to their 
homes. 

On Monday, March 15th, the President received 
the usual notification from both houses of Congress, 
that they had organized and were ready for the con- 
sideration of such measures as he might choose to 
recommend for their action. 

The first act to pass both houses and receive the 
signature of the President, was an Act repealing the 
Act of 1873, and opening the mints of the United 
States to the free coinage of silver at the ratio of six- 
teen to one, with gold, and establishing branch mints 
in the cities of Denver, Omaha, Chicago, Kansas City, 
Spokane, Los Angeles, Charleston and Mobile. 


The announcement that reparation had thus been 
made to the people for the Crime of 1873 ” was re- 
ceived with loud cheering on the floors and in the 
galleries of both houses. 

And the Great North heard these cheers and 
trembled. 

The next measure of great public import brought 
before the House was an act to provide additional 
revenue by levying a tax upon the incomes, sub- 
stantially on the lines laid down by the legislation of 
1894. The Republican Senators strove to make some 
show of resistance to this measure, but so solid were 
the administration ranks, that they only succeeded in 
delaying it for a few Aveeks. This first skirmish with 
the enemy, however, brought the President and his 
followers to a realizing sense that not only must the 
Senate be shorn of its power to block the ‘‘new 
movement of regeneration and reform by the adop- 
tion of rules cutting off prolonged debate, but that 
the “ new dispensation must at once proceed to in- 
crease its senatorial representation, for who could 
tell what moment some one of the Northern Silver 
States might not slip away from its allegiance to the 
“ Friend of the Common People.” 

The introduction of a bill repealing the various 
Civil Service acts passed for the alleged purpose of 
“ regulating and improving the Civil Service of the 
United States,” and of another repealing the various 
acts establishing National Banks, and substituting 
United States notes for all national bank notes based 
upon interest bearing bonds, opened the eyes of the 
Republican opposition to the fact that the Pre.sident 
and his party were possessed of the courage of their 
convictions, and were determined, come good report 
or evil report, to wipe all conflicting legislation from 


22 


the statute books. The battle in the Senate now 
took on a spirit of extreme acrimony ; scenes not 
witnessed since the days of Slavery, were of daily 
occurrence on the floors of both the House and the 
Senate. Threats of secession came openly from the 
North only to be met with the jeers and laughter of 
the silver and populist members. “We’re in the sad- 
dle at last,” exclaimed a Southern member, “ and we 
intend to ride on to \dctory !” 

The introduction of bills for the admission of New 
Mexico and Arizona, and for the division of Texas 
into two States to be called East Texas and West 
Texas, although each of these measures was strictly 
within the letter of the Constitution, fell among the 
members of the Republican opposition like a torch 
in a house of tinder. There was fire at once, and the 
blaze of party spirit leapt to such dangerous heights 
that the whole nation looked on in consternation. 
Was the Union about to go up in a great conflagra- 
tion and leave behind it but the ashes and charred 
pedestals of its greatness ? 

“ We are the people ” wrote the President in lines 
of dignity and calmness. “We are the people and 
w’hat we do, we do under the holy sanction of law*, 
and there is no one so powerful or so bold as to dare 
to say we do not do w^ell in lifting off the nation’s 
shoulders the grievous and unlawful burdens w^hich 
preceding Congresses have placed upon them.” 

And so the “ Long Session ” of the fifty-fifth Con- 
gress was entered upon, fated to last through summer 
heat and autumn chill, and until winter came again 
and the Constitution itself set limits to its lasting. 
And when that day came, and its speaker, amid a 
wild tumult of cheers, arose to declare it ended not 
by their will, but by the law of the land, he said : 


23 


^‘The glorious revolution is in its brightest bud. 
Since the President called upon us to convene in last 
March, we have with the strong blade of public in- 
dignation, and with a full sense of our responsibility, 
erased from the statute books the marks of our coun- 
try’s shame and our people’s subjugation. Liberty 
can not die. There remains much to be done in the 
way of building up. Let us take heart and push on. 
On Monday, the regular session of this Congress will 
begin. We must greet our loved ones from the dis- 
tance. We have no time to go home and embrace 
them.” 


CHAPTER VI. 


When a Republican member of the House arose 
to move the usual adjournment for the holidays, 
there was a storm of hisses and cries of No, no !” 

Said the leader of the House, amid deafening 
plaudits : ‘‘We are the servants of the people. Our 
work is not yet complete. There must be no play 
for us while coal barons stand with their feet on the 
ashes of the poor man’s hearthstone, and weeds and 
thorns cumber the fields of the farmer for lack of 
money to buy seed and implements. There must be 
no play for us while railway magnates press from the 
pockets of the laboring man six and eight per cent, 
return on thrice watered stocks, and rapacious land- 
lords, enriched by inheritance, grind the faces of the 
poor. There must be no play for us while enemies 
of the human kind are, by means of trust and com- 
bination and ‘corners,’ engaged in drawing their un- 
holy millions from the very life-blood of the nation, 
paralyzing its best efforts and setting the blight of 
intemperance and indifference upon it, by making 
life but one long struggle for existence, without a 
gleam of rest and comfort in old age. No, Mr. 
Speaker, we must not adjourn, but by our efforts in 
these halls of legislation let the nation know that we 
are at work for its emancipation, and by these means 
let the monopolists and money-changers be brought 
to a realizing sense that the Reign of the Common 
People has really been entered upon, and then the 

24 


25 


bells will ring- out a happier, gladder New Year than 
has ever dawned upon this Republic.” 

The opposition fairly quailed before the vigor and 
earnestness of the “new dispensation.” There were 
soon before the House and pressed well on toward 
final passage a number of important measures calcu- 
lated to awaken an intense feeling of enthusiasm 
among the working classes. Among these was an 
Act establishing a Loan Commission for the loaning 
of certain moneys of the United States to Farmers 
and Planters without interest ; an Act for the estab- 
lishment of a permanent Department of Public 
Works, its head to be styled Secretary of Public 
Works, rank as a cabinet officer, and supervise the 
expenditure of all public moneys for the construction 
of public buildings and the improvement of rivers 
and harbors ; an Act making it a felony, punishable 
with imprisonment for life, for any citizen or com- 
bination of citizens to enter into any trust or agree- 
ment to stifle, suppress or in any way interfere with 
full, open and fair competition in trade and manu- 
facture among the States, or to make use of any 
inter-vState railroads, waterways or canals for the 
transportation of any food products or goods, wares 
or merchandise which may have been “cornered,” 
stored or withheld with a view to enhance the value 
thereof ; and, most important of all, a preliminary 
Act having for its object the appointment of Com- 
missioners for the purchase by the Federal Govern- 
ment of all inter-State railway and telegraph lines, 
and in the meantime the strict regulation of all fares 
and charges by a Government Commission, from 
whose established schedules there shall be no 
appeal. 

On Washington’s Birthday the President issued an 


26 


Address of Congratulation to the People of the 
United States, from which the following is extracted : 

The malicious prognostications of our political 
opponents have proven themselves to be but empty 
sound and fury. Although not quite one year has 
elapsed since I, agreeable to your mandate, restored 
to you the money of the Constitution, yet from every 
section of our Union comes the glad tidings of re- 
newed activity and prosperit3\ The workingman no 
longer sits cold and hungry beside a cheerless 
hearthstone ; the farmer has taken heart and re- 
sumed work ; the wheels of the factory are in motion 
again ; the shops and stores of the legitimate dealer 
and trader are full of bustle and action. There is 
content everywhere, save in the counting-room of the 
money-changer, for which thank God and the com- 
mon people of this Republic. The free coinage of 
that metal which the Creator, in His wisdom, stored 
with so lavish a hand in the subterranean vaults of 
our glorious mountain ranges, has proven a rich and 
manifold blessing for our people. It is in every 
sense of the word the ‘people’s money,’ and already 
the envious world looks on in amazement that we 
have shown our ability to do without ‘ foreign co- 
operation.’ The Congress of our Republic has been 
in almost continuous session since I took my oath of 
office, and the administration members deserve your 
deepest and most heartfelt gratitude. They are 
rearing for themselves a monument more lasting 
than chiseled bronze or polished monolith. They 
knew no rest, they asked for no respite from their 
labors until, at my earnest request, they adjourned 
over to join their fellow citizens in the observance of 
this sacred anniversary. 

“ Fellow . citizens, remember the bonds which a 


27 


wicked and selfish class of usurers and speculators 
fastened upon you, and on this anniversary of the 
birth of the Father of our Country, let us renew our 
pledges to undo completely and absolutely their in- 
famous work, and in public assembly and family 
circle, let us by new vows confirm our love of right 
and justice, so that the great gain may not slip away 
from us, but go on increasing so long as the statute 
books contain a single trace of the record of our en- 
slavement. As for me, I have but one ambition, and 
that is to deserve so well of you that when you come 
to write my epitaph, you set beneath my name the 
single line : 

Here lies a Friend of the Common People.'" 


CHAPTER VII. 


This first year of the Silver Administration was 
scarcely rounded up, ere there began to be ugly 
rumors that the Government was no longer able to 
hold the white metal at a parity with gold. “ It is 
the work of Wall Street,” cried the friends of the 
President, but wiser heads were shaken in contra- 
diction, for they had watched the sowing of the wind 
of unreason, and knew only too well that the whirl- 
wind of folly must be reaped in due season. 

The country had been literally submerged by a 
silver flood which had poured its argent waves into 
every nook and cranny of the Republic, stimulating 
human endeavor to most unnatural and harmful 
vigor. Mad speculation stalked over the land. People 
sold what they should have clung to, and bought 
what they did not need. Manufacturers heaped up 
goods for which there was no demand, and farmers 
ploughed where they had not drained and drained, 
where they were never fated to plough. The small 
(dealer enlarged his business with more haste than 
judgment, and the widow drew her mite from the 
bank of savings to buy land on which she was des- 
tined never to set foot. The spirit of greed and gain 
lodged in every mind, and the Common People ” 
with a mad eagerness loosened the strings of their 
leather purses to cast their hard-earned savings into 
wild schemes of profit. Every scrap and bit of the 
white metal that they could lay their hands upon, 
28 


29 


spoons hallowed by the touch of lips long since closed 
in death, and cups and tankards from which grand 
sires had drunken were bundled away to the mints 
to be coined into “people’s dollars.” 

At the very first rumor of the slipping away of 
this trusted coin from its parity with gold, there was 
a fearful awakening, like the start and the gasp of 
the miser who sees his horded treasure melting away 
from before his eyes, and he not able to reach out 
and stay its going. 

Protest and expostulation first, then came groans 
and prayers, from which there was an easy road to 
curses. The working man threw off his cap and 
apron to rush upon the public square, and demand 
his rights. Mobs ran together, processions formed, 
deputations hurried off to Washington, not on foot 
like the Coxey Army, but on the swift wings of the 
Limited Express. 

The “ common people ” were admitted to the bar 
of the house, their plaints patiently listened to, and 
reparation promised. Bills for increased revenue 
were hurridly introduced, and new taxes were loaded 
upon the broad shoulders of the millionaires of the 
nation ; — taxes on checks, taxes on certificates of in- 
corporation, taxes on deeds and mortgages, taxes 
on pleasure yachts, taxes on private parks and 
plaisances, taxes on wills of all property above 
$5,000 in value, taxes on all gifts of realty for and 
in consideration of natural love and affection, taxes 
on all passage tickets to foreign lands, and double 
taxes on the estates of all absentees on and after the 
lapse of six months. 

There was a doubling up too of the tariff on all im- 
portant luxuries, for as was said on the floor of Con- 
gress, “ if the silks and satins of American looms and 


30 


the wines and tobacco of native growth, are not good 
enough for ^ my Lord of Wall Street,’ let him pay the 
difference and thank heaven that he can get them at 
that price.” 

To quiet the murmurs of the good people of the 
land, additional millions were placed to the credit of 
the Department of Public Works, and harbors were 
dredged out in one month only to fill up in the next, 
and new systems of improvement of interstate water- 
ways were entered upon on a scale of magnitude 
hitherto undreamt of. The Commissioners for the 
distribution of public moneys to farmers so impover- 
ished as to be unable to work their lands, were kept 
busy in placing “ Peffer Loans ” where the need of 
them seemed to be the greatest, and to put a stop to 
the nefarious doings of money changers and trad- 
ers in the misfortunes of the people, a statute was 
enacted making it a felony punishable with imprison- 
ment for life, for any person or corporate body to 
buy and sell government bonds or public funds, or 
deal in them with a view to draw gain or profit from 
their rise and fall in value. 

But try never so hard, the Government found itself 
powerless to check the slow but steady decline in 
value of the people’s dollar. By midsummer, it had 
fallen to forty- three cents, and ere the fair North- 
land had wrapped itself, like a scornful beauty, in its 
Autumn mantle of gold, the fondly trusted coin had 
sunk to exactly one-third of the value of a standard 
gold dollar. People carried baskets in their arms, 
filled with the now discredited coin, when they went 
abroad to pay a debt or make purchase of the neces- 
saries of life. Hugh sacks of the white metal were 
flung at the door of the mortgagee when discharge 
was sought for a few thousand dollars. Men ser- 


31 


Tants accompanied their mistresses upon shopping 
tours to carry the necessary funds, and leather pockets 
took the place of the old time muslin ones in male 
habiliments, least the weight of the fifteen coins re- 
quired to make up a five dollar gold piece should 
tear the thin stuff and spill a dollar at every step. 

All day long in the large cities, huge trucks loaded 
with sacks of the coin rolled and rumbled over the 
pavement in the adjustment of the business balances 
of the day. The tradesman who called for his bill 
was met at the door with a coal scuttle or a nail keg 
filled with the needful amount, and on pay day, the 
working man took his eldest boy with him to tote 
the stuff home ” while he carried the usual bundle of 
firewood. And strange to say, this dollar, once so 
beloved by the common people,” parted with its 
very nature of riches and lay in heaps iinnoticed and 
unheeded on shelf or table, until occasion arose to pay 
it out which was done with a careless and contempt- 
uous toss as if it were the iron money of the ancient 
Spartans, and Holy Writ for once at least, was dis- 
proven and discredited for the thief showed not the 
slightest inclination to “break in and steal” where 
these treasures had been laid up on earth, although 
the discs of white metal might lie in full view on the 
table, like so many pewter platters or pieces of tin- 
Avare. Men let debts run, rather than call for them, 
and barter and exchange came into vogue again, the 
good housewife calling on her neighbor for a loan 
of flour or meal, promising to return the same in 
sugar or dried fruit whenever the need might arise. 

And still the once magic discs of silver slipped 
slowly and silently downward, and ever downward in 
value and good name, until it almost seemed as if 
the people hated the very name of silver. 


CHAPTER VIIL 


The Fateful year of '99’’ upon its coming in, 
found the Republic of Washington in dire and dan- 
gerous straits. The commercial and industrial boom 
had spent its force, and now the frightful evils of a 
debased currency, coupled with demoralizing effects 
of rampant paternalism, were gradually strangling 
the land to death. Capital, ever timid and distrust- 
ful in such times, hid itself in safe deposit vaults, or 
fled to Europe. Labor, although teally hard pressed 
and lacking the very necessities of life, was loud- 
mouthed and defiant. Socialism and Anarchism 
found willing ears into which to pour their burning 
words of hatred and malevolence, and the conse- 
quence was that serious rioting broke out in the 
larger cities of the North, often taxing the capacities 
of the local authorities to the utmost. 

It was bruited abroad that violent dissensions had 
arisen in the Cabinet, the young President giving 
signs of a marked change of mind, and like many a 
^man who has appealed to the darker passions of the 
human heart, he seemed almost ready to exclaim : 

I stand alone. The spirits I have called up are no 
longer obedient to me. My country, oh, my country, 
how willingly would I give my life for thee, if by 
such a sacrifice I could restore thee to thy old time 
prosperity.” 

For the first he began to realize what an intense 
spirit of sectionalism had entered into this “ revolu- 
32 


33 


tionary propaganda.” He spoke of his fears to none 
save to his wise and prudent helpmate. 

I trust 3^ou, beloved,” she whispered, as she 
pressed the broad, strong hands that held her en- 
clasped. 

“ Ay, dear one, but does my country ?” came in 
almost a groan from the lips of the youthful ruler. 

Most evident was it, that thus far the South had 
been the great gainer in this struggle for power. 
She had increased her strength in the Senate by six 
votes ; she had regained her old time prestige in the 
House ; one of her most trusted sons was in the 
Speaker’s chair, while another brilliant Southron led 
the administration forces on the floor. Bom as she 
was for the brilliant exercise of intellectual vigor, 
the South was of that strain of blood which knows 
how to wear the kingly graces of power so as best to 
impress the common people.” Many of the men of 
the North had been charmed and fascinated by this 
natural pomp and inborn demeanor of greatness and 
had yielded to it. 

Not a month had gone by that this now dominant 
section had not made some new demand upon the 
country at large. Early in the session, at its request, 
the internal revenue tax which had rested so long 
upon the tobacco crop of the South, and poured so 
many millions of revenue into the national treasury, 
was wiped from the statute books with but a feeble 
protest from the North. 

But now the country was thrown into a state bor- 
dering upon frenzy by a new demand, which, although 
couched in calm and decorous terms, nay, almost in 
the guise of a petition for long-delayed justice to 
hard-pressed and suffering brethren, had about it a 
suppressed, yet unmistakable tone of conscious power 


34 


and imperiousness which well became the leader who 
spoke for “that glorious Southland to which this 
Union owes so much of its greatness and its prestige.” 

Said he : “ Mr. Speaker, for nearly thirty years our 
people, although left impoverished by the conflict of 
the states, have given of their substance to salve the 
wounds and make green the old age of the men v/ho 
conquered us. We have paid this heavy tax, this 
fearful blood money unmurmuringly. You have for- 
given us for our bold strike for liberty that God 
willed should not succeed. You have given us back 
our rights, opened the doors of these sacred halls to 
us, called us your brothers, but unlike noble Germany 
who was content to exact a lump sum from “ la belle 
France,” and then bid her go in peace and freedom 
from all further exactions, you have for nearly thirty 
years laid this humiliating war tax upon us, and thus 
forced us year in and year out to kiss the very hand 
that smote us. Are we human that we now cry out 
against it ? Are we men that we feel no tingle in our 
veins after these long years of punishment for no 
greater crime than that we loved^liberty better than the 
bonds of a confederation laid upon us by our fathers ? 
We appeal to you as our brothers and our country- 
men. Lift this infamous tax from our land, than 
which your great North is ten thousand times richer. 
Do one of two things : Either take our aged and de- 
crepit soldiers by the hand and bless their last days 
with pensions from the treasury of our common 
country, for they were only wrong in that their cause 
failed, or remove this hated tax and make such resti- 
tution of this blood money as shall seem just and 
equitable to your soberer and better judgment.” 

To say that this speech, of which the foregoing is 
but a brief extract, threw both Houses of Congress 


35 


into most violent disorder, but faintly describes its 
effect. Cries of treason ! treason ! went up ; blows 
were exchanged and hand to hand struggles took 
place in the galleries, followed by the flash of the 
dread bowie and the crack of the ready pistol. The 
Republic was shaken to its very foundations. 
Throughout the North there was but a repetition of 
the scenes that followed the firing upon Sumter. 
Public meetings were held, and resolutions passed 
calling upon the Government to concentrate troops 
in and about Washington, and prepare for the sup- 
pression of a second Rebellion. 

But gradually this outbreak of popular indignation 
lost some of its strength and virulence, for it was easy 
to comprehend that nothing would be gained at this 
stage of the matter by meeting a violent and unlaw- 
ful demand with violence and unwise counsels. Be- 
sides, what was it any way but the idle threat of a 
certain clique of unscrupulous politicians ? 

The Republic stood upon too firm a foundation to 
be shaken by mere appeals to the passions of the 
hour. To commit treason against our country called 
for an overt act. What had it to dread from the mere 
oratorical flash of a passing storm of feeling ? 

It is hard to say what the young President thought 
of these scenes in Congress. So pale had he grown 
of late that a little more of pallor would pass un- 
noted, but those who were wont to look upon his face 
in these troublous times report that in the short 
space of a few days the lines in his countenance 
deepened perceptibly, and that a firmer^and stronger 
expression of will-power lurked in the corners of his 
wide mouth, overhung his square and massive chin, 
and accentuated the vibrations of his wide-opened 
nostrils. He was under a terrible strain. When he 


had caught up the sceptre of power, it seemed a mere 
bauble in his strong grasp, but now it had grown 
strangely heavy, and there was a mysterious prick- 
ing at his brow, as if that crown of thorns which he 
had not willed should be set upon the heads of oth- 
ers, were being pressed down with cruel hands upon 
his own. 


CHAPTER IX. 


When the last embers of the great conflagration of 
the Rebellion had been smothered out with tears for 
the Lost Cause, a prophecy had gone up that the 
mighty North, rich with a hundred great cities, and 
strong in the conscious power of its wide empire, 
would be the next to raise the standard of rebellion 
against the Federal Government. But that prophet 
was without honor in his own land, and none had 
paid heed to his seemingly wild words. 

Yet now, this same mighty North sat there in her 
grief and anxiety, with her face turned Southward, 
and her ear strained to catch the whispers that were 
in the air. Had not the sceptre of power passed from 
her hand forever? Was not the Revolution com- 
plete ? Were not the Populists and their allies firmly 
seated in the Halls of Congress? Had not the Su- 
preme Court been rendered powerless for good by 
packing it with the most uncompromising adherents 
of the new political faith? Had not the very nature 
of the Federal Government undergone a change : 
Was not Paternalism rampant ? Was not Socialism 
on the increase? Were there not everywhere evi- 
dences of an intense hatred of the North and a firm 
determination to throw the whole burden of taxation 
upon the shoulders of the rich man, in order that the 
surplus revenues of the Government might be dis- 
tributed among those who constitute the “ common 
people?’* How could this section of the Union ever 
37 


38 


hope to make head against the South, united, as it 
now was, with the rapidly growing States of the 
Northwest? Could the magnificent cities of the 
North content themselves to march at the tail of 
Tillman’s and Peffer’s chariots ? Had not the South 
a firm hold of the Senate ? Where was there a ray of 
hope that the North could ever again regain its lost 
power, and could it for a single moment think of en- 
trusting its vast interests to the hands of a people 
differing with them on every important question of 
statecraft, pledged to a policy that could not be oth- 
erwise than ruinous to the welfare of the grand com- 
monwealths of the Middle and Eastern sections of 
the Union and their sister States this side of the Mis- 
sissippi? It were madness to think of it. The 
plunge must be taken, the declaration must be made. 
There was no other alternative, save abject submis- 
sion to the chieftains of the new dispensation, and 
the complete transformation of that vast social and 
political system vaguely called the North. 

But this revolution within a revolution would be a 
bloodless one, for there could be no thought of coer- 
cion, no serious notion of checking such a mighty 
movement. It would be in reality the true Republic 
purging itself of a dangerous malady, sloughing off 
a diseased and gangrened member ; no more, no less. 
^ Already this mighty movement of withdrawals- 
from the Witenagemote of the Union was in the air. 
People spoke of it in a whisper, or with bated breath ; 
but as they turned it over and over in their minds, it 
took on shape and form and force, till at last it burst 
into life and action like Minerva from Jupiter’s 
brain — full-fledged, full-armed, full-voiced and full- 
hearted. 

Really, why would it not be all for the best that 


39 


this mighty empire, rapidly growing so vast and un- 
wieldy as to be only with the greatest difficulty gov- 
ernable from a single centre, should be split into 
three parts. Eastern, Southern and Western, now 
that it may be done without dangerous jar or friction ? 
The three republics could be federated for purposes 
offensive and defensive, and until these great and 
radical changes could be brought about there would 
be no great difficulty in devising ‘^living terms,” for 
immediately upon the Declaration of Dissolution, 
each State would become repossessed of the sover- 
eign powers which it had delegated to the Federal 
Government. 

Meanwhile the Fateful year ’99 ” went onward 
toward its close. The whole land seemed stricken 
with paralysis, so far as the various industries were 
concerned, but, as it is wont to be in such times, 
men’s minds were supernaturally active. The days 
were passed in the reading of public prints, or in 
passing in review the weighty events of the hour. 
The North was only waiting for an opportunity to act. 

But the question that perplexed the wisest heads 
was : How and when shall the Declaration of Dis- 
solution be made, and how soon thereafter shall the 
North and the States in sympathy with her with- 
draw from the Union, and declare to the world their 
intention to set up a republic of their own, with the 
mighty metropolis of New York as its social, politi- 
cal and commercial centre and capital ? 

As it came to pass, the North had not long to wait. 
The Fifty-sixth Congress soon to convene in regular 
session in the city of Washington, was even more 
Populistic and Socialistic than its famous predeces- 
sor, which had wrought such wonderful changes in 
the law of the land, showing no respect for precedent. 


40 


no reverence for the old order of things. Hence all 
eyes were fixed upon the capital of the nation, all 
roads were untrodden, save those which led to Wash- 
ington. 


CHAPTER X. 


Again Congress had refused to adjourn over for 
the holidays. The leaders of the Administration 
forces were unwilling to close their eyes, even for 
needful sleep, and went about pale and haggard, 
startled at every word and gesture of the opposition, 
like true conspirators, as they were, for the Federal 
troops had been almost to a man quietly removed 
from the Capital and its vicinage, lest the President 
in a moment of weakness, might do or suffer to be 
done some act unfriendly to the Reign of the Com- 
mon People. 

Strange as it may seem, there had been very little 
note taken by the country at large of the introduc- 
tion at the opening of the session of an Act to extend 
the Pension System of the United States to the 
Soldiers of the Confederate Armies, and for covering 
back into the various treasuries of certain States of 
the Union, such portions of internal revenue taxes 
collected since the readmission of said states to the 
Federal Congress, as may be determined by Com- 
missioners duly appointed under said Act. 

Was it the calm of despair, the stolidity of despera- 
tion, or the cool and restrained energy of a noble and 
refined courage ? 

The introduction of the Act, however, had one 
effect ; it set in motion toward the National capital, 
mighty streams of humanity — not of wild-eyed 
fanatics or unshaven and unkempt politicasters and 

41 


42 


bezonians — but of soberly-clad citizens with a busi- 
ness-like air about them, evidently men who knew 
how to earn more than enough for a living, men wha 
paid their taxes and had a right to take a look at the 
public servants, if desire so moved them. But very 
plain was it that the mightier stream flowed in from 
the South, and those who remembered the Capital in 
antebellum da^^’s, smiled at the old familiar sight, the 
clean-shaven faces, the long hair thrown carelessly 
back under the broad brim felts, the half unbuttoned 
vraistcoats and turn down collars, the small feet and 
neatly fitting boots, the springy loping pace, the soft 
negroese intonation, the long fragrant cheroot. 

It was easy to pick out the man from the North- 
land, well-clad and w'ell-groomed, as careful of his 
linen as a woman, prim and trim, disdainful of the 
picturesque felts, ever crowned with the ceremonious 
derby, the man of affairs, taking a business-like view 
of life, but wearing for the nonce a worried look and 
drawing ever and anon a deep breath. 

The black man, ever at the heels of his white 
brother, set to rule over him by an inscrutable decree 
of nature, came forth too in thousands, chatting and 
laughing gayly, careless of the why or wherefore of 
his white brother’s deep concern, and powerless to 
comprehend it had he so desired. Every hour now 
added to the throng. The broad avenues were none 
too broad. The excitement increased. Men talked 
louder and louder, women and children disappeared 
almost completely from the streets. The Southern 
element” drew more and more apart in knots and 
groups by itself. Men threw themselves upon their 
beds to catch a few hours sleep, but without undress- 
ing, as if they were expecting the happening of some 
portentous event at any moment, the event of their 


43 

lives, and dreaded the thought of being a moment 
late. 

If all went well, the bill would come up for final 
passage on Saturday, the 30th day of the month, but 
so fierce was the battle raged against it, and so fre~ 
quent the interruptions by the contumacy both of 
members and of the various cliques crowding the 
galleries to suffocation, that little or no progress 
could be made. 

The leaders of the administration forces saw mid-^ 
night drawing near with no prospect of attaining 
their object before the coming in of Sunday on which 
the House had never been known to sit. An adjourn^ 
ment over to Monday of the New Year might be 
fatal, for who could tell what unforseen force might 
not break up their solid ranks and throw them inta 
confusion. They must rise equal to the occasion. 
A motion was made to suspend the rules, and to re-^ 
main in continuous session until the business before 
the House was completed. Cries of Unprece- 
dented!” ‘‘Revolutionary!” “Monstrous!” came 
from the opposition, but all to no purpose ; the House 
settled down to its work with such a grim determina- 
tion to conquer that the Republican minority fairly 
quailed before it. Food and drink were brought to 
the members in their seats ; they ate, drank and 
slept at their posts, like soldiers determined not to be 
ambushed or stampeded. 

It was a strange sight, and yet an impressive one 
withal — a great party struggling for long deferred 
rights — freemen jealous of their liberties, bound to- 
gether with the vSteel hooks of determination that 
only death might break asunder. 

Sunday came in at last, and still the struggle went 
on. “ The people know no days when their liberties 


44 


are at stake,” cried the leader of the House. “ The 
Sabbath was made for man ahd not man for the 
Sabbath.” 

Many of the speeches delivered on that famous 
Sunday sounded more like the lamentations of a 
Jeremiah, the earnest and burning utterances of a 
Paul, or the scholarly and well-rounded periods of 
an Apollos. The weary hours were lightened by 
the singing of hymns by the Southern members, 
most of them good methodists, in which their friends 
and sympathizers in the galleries joined full throated 
and fuller hearted ; while at times, clear, resonant 
and in perfect unison, the voices of the staunch men 
of the North broke in and drowned out the religious 
song with the majestic and soul-stirring measures of 
John Brown’s Body,” the Glory, Glory Halleluiah” 
of which seemed to hush the tumult of the Chamber 
like a weird chant of some invisible chorus breaking 
in upon the fierce rioting of a Belshazzar’s feast. 

Somewhat after eleven o’clock, an ominous silence 
sank upon the opposing camps, the Republican 
leaders could be seen conferring together nervously. 
It was a sacred hour of night, thrice sacred for the 
great Republic. Not only a New Year, but a New 
Century was about to break upon the world. A 
^trange hush crept over the turbulent House, and its 
still more turbulent galleries. 

The Republican leader rose to his feet. His voice 
sounded cold and hollow. Strong men shivered as 
they listened. Mr Speaker : We have done our 
duty to our country ; we have nothing more to say, 
no more blows to strike. We cannot stand here with- 
in the sacred precincts of this Chamber, and see our 
rights as freemen trampled beneath the feet of the 
majority. We have striven to prevent the downfall 


45 


of the Republic, like men sworn to battle against 
wrong and tyranny, but there comes a time when 
blank despair seizes upon the hearts of those who 
struggle against overwhelming odds. That hour has 
sounded for us. We believe our people, the great 
and generous people of the North, will cry unto us : 
Well done, good and faithful servants. If we do 
wrong, let them condemn us. We, every man of us, 
Mr. Speaker, have but this moment sworn not to 
stand within this Chamber and witness the passage 
of this act. Therefore we go ” 

^‘Not so, my countrymen,” cried a clear metallic 
far-reaching voice that sounded through the Chamber 
with an almost supernatural ring in it. In an instant, 
every head was turned and a thousand voices burst 
out with suppressed force : 

The President ! The President !” 

In truth, it was he, standing at the bar of the House, 
wearing the visage of death rather than of life. The 
next instant the House and galleries burst into a 
deafening clamor which rolled up and back in mighty 
waves that shook the very walls. There was no still- 
ing it. Again and again it burst forth, the mingl- 
ing of ten thousand words, howling, rumbling and 
groaning like the warring elements of nature. Sev- 
eral times the President stretched forth his great 
white hands appealing for silence, while the dew of 
mingled dread and anguish beaded on his brow and 
trickled down his cheeks in liquid supplication that 
his people might either slay him or listen to him. 
The tumult stilled its fury for a moment, and he 
could be heard saying brokenly : 

‘‘My countrymen, oh, my countrymen ” 

But the quick sharp sound of the gavel cut him 
short. 


46 


The President must withdraw/' said the Speaker, 
calmly and coldly, “ his presence here is a menace to 
our free deliberation." 

Again the tumult set up its deafening roar, while 
a look of almost horror overspread the countenance 
of the Chief Magistrate. 

Once more his great white hands went heavenward, 
pleading for silence with such a mute majesty of sup- 
plication, that silence fell upon the immense assem- 
b)lage, and his lips moved not in vain. 

“Gentlemen of the House of Representatives, I 
stand here upon my just and lawful right as Presi- 
dent of the Republic, to give you ^ information of the 
state of the Union.' I have summoned the Honor- 
able the Senate, to meet me in this Chamber. 
I call upon you to calm your passions, and give ear 
to me as your oath of office sets the sacred obliga- 
tion upon you." 

There was a tone of godlike authority in these few 
words, almost divine enough to make the winds obey 
and still the tempestuous sea. In deepest silence, 
and with a certain show of rude and native grandeur 
of bearing, the Senators made their entrance into the 
Chamber, the members of the House rising, and the 
Speaker advancing to meet the Vice-President. 
f The spectacle was grand and moving. Tears 
gathered in eyes long unused to them, and at an 
almost imperceptible nod of the President's head, 
the Chaplain raised his voice in prayer. He prayed 
in accents that were so gentle and so persuasive, they 
must have turned the hardest heart to blessed 
thoughts of peace and love and fraternity and union. 
And then again all eyes were fixed with intensest 
strain upon the face of the President. 

“ Gentlemen of the House of Representatives, this 
measure upon which you are now deliberating " 


47 


With a sudden blow that startled every living soul 
within its hearing, the Speaker’s gavel fell. “ The 
President,” said he with a superb dignity that called 
down from the galleries a burst of deafening applause, 
^‘must not make reference to pending legislation. 
The Constitution guarantees him the right ‘ from 
time to time to give to the Congress information of 
the Union.’ He must keep himself strictly within 
the lines of this Constitutional limit, or withdraw 
from the bar of the House.” 

A deadly pallor overspread the face of the Chief 
Magistrate till it seemed he must sink then and there 
into that sleep which knows no awakening, but he 
gasped, he leaned forward, he raised his hand again 
imploringly, and as he did so, the bells of the city 
began to toll the hour of midnight. 

The New Year, the New Century was born, but 
with the last stroke, a fearful and thunderous dis- 
'Charge as of a thousand monster pieces of artillery, 
shook the Capitol to its very foundations, making the 
stoutest hearts stand still, and blanching cheeks that 
had never known the coward color. The dome of 
the Capitol had been destroyed by dynamite. 

In a few moments, when it was seen that the 
•Chamber had suffered no harm, the leader of the 
House moved the final passage of the Act. The 
President was led away, and the Republican Senators 
and Representatives passed slowly out of the dis- 
figured Capitol, while the tellers prepared to take 
the vote of the House. The bells were ringing a 
glad welcome to the New Century, but a solemn toll- 
ing would have been a fitter thing, for the Republic 
of Washington was no more. It had died so peace- 
fully, that the world could not believe the tidings of 
its passing away. As the dawn broke cold and gray, 


48 


and its first dim light fell upon that shattered dome^ 
glorious even in its ruins, a single human eye, filled 
with a gleam of devilish joy, looked up at it long and 
steadily, and then its owner was caught up and lost 
in the surging mass of humanity that held the Capitol 
girt round and round. 




PRICE fO CENTS 


' 1900 ' 

OR, 

THE LAST PRESIDENT 


BY 

INGERSOLL LOCKWOOD, 

Of the New York Bar. 


:p 28^8% 

The Trade Su^iTe3 by 
THE AMERICAN NEWS COMPANY, 


New York. 




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